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ND Women’s Swimming: Irish take confidence out of close win over Minnesota

Greg Arbogast | Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Notre Dame completed an emotional comeback Sunday night, edging out host Minnesota to finish first in the 10-team Minnesota Invitational.

Entering Sunday, the third day of competition, the Irish had compiled only 476 points, and they trailed Wisconsin by 80 points.

But six top-5 finishes on Sunday boosted the Irish past the Badgers and allowed them to hold off the surging Golden Gophers by a score of 722-707.

Irish coach Carrie Nixon was pleased with her team’s refusal to quit.

“We started out slowly on the first day, which is typically our weakest day,” she said. “But the girls kept their focus on the goal, which was winning the meet.”

Sunday’s comeback started two top-5 finishes in the 200-meter backstroke, as Ann Barton finished third with a time of 2:02.06 and Caroline Johnson finished fifth with a time of 2:02.93. Johnson’s mark of 2:02.93 was nearly four seconds better than her preliminary time.

Julia Quinn continued the Irish comeback with a second-place finish in the 200 breaststroke with a time 2:16.12. Next came the third place finish for the 400 freestyle relay team of Johnson, Christa Riggins, Rebecca Grove, and Katie Carroll.

Finally, Notre Dame sealed the victory with second- and third-place finishes in the 200-meter butterfly by Carroll and Casey Wagner.

Overall, the Irish finished with 15 top-3 finishes.

“It was a total team effort,” Nixon said. “We really appeared to be together on the same page, and that is very exciting.”

The other major highlight of the weekend was Carroll’s performance in the 400 individual medley (IM). Carroll, with a time of 4:15.34, achieved an NCAA “A” cut time, which guarantees her a spot in the NCAA championships not only for the 400 IM but also for the five events in which she has achieved a “B” cut time. Carroll is the first Irish swimmer this season to qualify for the NCAA championships.

This past weekend’s win signifies the continued improvement of the team this season. After starting the season with close losses to Cal and Purdue, the Irish have improved steadily, winning two dual meets building up to their victory this past weekend.

“Sunday night’s win was a huge confidence booster for us,” Nixon said. “We swam well against Cal and Purdue, but we lost. To go in and swim with some of the best teams in the country and win was great for us.”